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Canadian paramedic volunteering in Ukraine killed in action, family says

An Alberta paramedic was killed while serving with the Ukrainian military earlier this month, his family says.

Irvin Mayers confirmed the death of son Joshua Mayers to The Canadian Press.

According to an obituary posted by an Edmonton-area funeral home, the 34-year-old died on Nov. 10.

Global Affairs Canada did not confirm the death, only telling CTV News Edmonton it was “aware of an incident involving a Canadian in Ukraine.”

The Alberta College of Paramedics, too, would not confirm a death for privacy reasons. However, a paramedic by the same name was listed in its member database as deceased on Tuesday.

Mayers was described in the obituary as someone who dedicated his life to helping people, first as a lifeguard, then as a primary care paramedic, and later as an advanced care paramedic.

“Josh cared deeply about everyone in his life, as well as strangers in the community,” the obituary reads in part.

It also says he was inspired to go to Ukraine in September to contribute even more: “He felt this would bring a higher purpose to his life and provide him with a chance to make a significant and meaningful difference in the world.”

According to his father, Mayers was killed in action near the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

The family does not know if or when they will be able to bring Mayers’ body back to Canada.

They are planning a celebration of life in Edmonton.

CTV News Edmonton is working to connect with Mayers’ family.

Global Affairs said Canadian officials “continue to monitor the situation closely, are engaging with local authorities, and are providing consular assistance.”

The federal department knows of nine Canadians who have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Nicole Lampa and The Canadian Press 

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